There’s something about ice scrapers that really drives me nuts.

Maybe I have more trouble with them than the average person because our house faces north, but finding a good one isn’t easy.

While my neighbors across the street enjoy warm sun melting their windshields in the winter, I’m over here, scraping and clawing and struggling to get the ice off my car windows.

I have bad luck with ice scrapers.

They snap, break and chip, no matter how gently I use them. The thicker the ice, the more precarious my collection.

I’ve got parts and pieces of broken ice scrapers all over my car — in the back seat, front seat, trunk and floors.

There’s a brush and no scraper, a scraper with no brush, and hand scrapers that are as dull as hammers.

I’ve tried everything — buying expensive scrapers with thick, fancy brushes, scrapers with extendable handles that look indestructible on the store shelf, metal scrapers, plastic scrapers and those with a mitten wrapped around them, ostensibly to keep your hand warm while scraping.

I’ve yet to try one of those. I figure if scraping a windshield and windows takes long enough to freeze one’s hands, then the scraper can’t be much good.

What I’ve learned over the winters is that paying more money doesn’t guarantee you a better scraper.

I bought one that cost me $12, figuring it would solve my problem, and it broke the first day I used it.

I’ve been in situations where I had nothing to scrape my windshield with and had better luck using the cardboard cover of my reporter’s notebook than those pricey scrapers that prove repeatedly you can’t judge a book by its cover.

I was at Hussey’s General Store in Windsor a few weeks ago and perused the snow scrapers in the hardware department — I’m always looking to find one that really might work. I saw a simple, wooden-handled scraper with a thin brush and smallish scraping edge for only $1.49 and contemplated buying it, but my sister said it looked cheap so I passed it by.

Then when I got home and told my husband about it, he said he’d been looking for a wooden-handled scraper like the ones they used to make because they worked a darned sight better than the modern ones.

Well, since Hussey’s is about a half-hour drive from our house in Waterville, we scouted around the area for wooden-handled scrapers, but found none.

One day we had some free time, so we took a trip to Hussey’s. There were two wooden-handled ice scrapers left and we purchased both for less than three bucks.

And you know what? They work like a charm. I’ve been scraping thick frost off my car these mornings, lickety-split.

There are lessons to be learned from my struggles, I figure. Newer is not necessarily better, wood is typically more reliable than plastic and spending more money doesn’t always guarantee higher quality.

And we Mainers who live in houses facing north are completely out of our minds.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 27 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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